The Magic’s up-and-down season continues on the court and in the NBA Power Rankings.
After jumping a few spots last week in most rankings thanks to back-to-back wins over the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets, the Magic dropped back down after a three-game losing streak. They snapped that streak with a win over the Hawks, though a majority of this week’s rankings were done prior to that game (and probably wouldn’t have moved the Magic much higher anyway).
Click on each publication for the full ranking...
ESPN - Magic fall from 22 to 24
The Magic have lost three straight games and seven of their past nine to fall to 11th place in the Eastern Conference, tied for the sixth-worst record in the NBA. They are still only three games out of the final playoff spot, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Magic start giving more minutes to their recent high lottery picks, 21-year-old Jonathan Isaac and 20-year-old Mo Bamba, as the season progresses. -- Andre Snellings
SI.com - Magic fall from 21 to 24
The Magic just couldn’t close out the three tight games they were in this past week. Falling to the Nets and Bucks will sting, but the loss to the Pistons is going to hang over this team. Especially if Orlando can’t win the March 28 matchup to at least get a 2-2 split in the season series. -- Khadrice Rollins
NBA.com - Magic fall from 21 to 24
The Magic still have eight more games within that 6-11 group in the Eastern Conference, including two more against the sixth-place Nets in the next 13 days. But they wasted two opportunities at moving up in the standings last week, blowing an 11-point lead in Detroiton Wednesday and a 21-point lead to Brooklyn on Friday. Updating a note previously mentioned in this space, the Magic now lead the league with 13 losses in games they’ve led by double-digits, four more than any other team (the Cavs and Knicks are next with nine apiece). They remain the league’s sixth best defensive team in the first quarter (102.6 points allowed per 100 possessions), but have allowed 113.3 points per 100 possessions after the opening 12 minutes, with big jumps in opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area (59 percent in the first quarter, 64 percent their after) and opponent free throw rate (16 attempts per 100 shots from the field in the first quarter, 28 thereafter). -- John Schuhmann
UPROXX - Magic fall from 22 to 24
Orlando may have dropped even more if not for a strong road showing in Atlanta on Monday. Not only did the Magic beat the Hawks on the road, but they did so without Aaron Gordon and by a decisive margin. That helps when trying to differentiate between teams in the bottom third of the league. -- Brad Rowland
The Athletic - Magic jump from 25 to 24
Why isn’t Evan Fournier able to shoot this season? As we continue to pretend that this Orlando Magic team should be in any kind of playoff hunt (three games back), one of the more confusing aspects of this Orlando season happens to be the shooting of their highest paid guard. Fournier went into this season shooting 37.9 percent from 3-point range in his career. This season, Fournier has made just 33.2 percent of his 3-pointers. Through November, Fournier was making just 29.1 percent of his 3-point attempts. Then he started regressing to the mean in December when he shot 41.1 percent from downtown. Everything has been solved, correct? Unfortunately, January has him locked into a roller coaster with his accuracy......Basically, Fournier isn’t finding a rhythm yet and it’s a big reason the Magic can’t jumpstart their offense enough to be a .500 team. -- Zach Harper
Hoops Habit - Magic fall from 22 to 24
The Orlando Magic are in free-fall at the moment, losing 12 of their last 17 games after falling short in a five-point overtime contest against Detroit and giving up a 21-point lead in a loss to the Nets. The playoffs are now 3.5 games out of a playoff spot, and with each passing loss, Nikola Vucevic‘s case for an All-Star spot gets a little bit weaker. After the season he’s had, and the start Orlando had, it’d be a pity if this downward spiral wound up backfiring like that. -- Gerald Bourguet
Rotoworld - Magic at 24
Orlando has lost three straight games and may be forced to play without Aaron Gordon early this week. Gordon tweaked his back on Friday night and was ruled out of Saturday’s game vs. Milwaukee. He is questionable for Monday’s game vs. the Hawks. -- Tommy Beer
Bleacher Report - Magic at 26 (Posted on Jan. 18)
The Magic played at the league’s second-slowest pace this past week, and it worked out. A 2-1 mark with wins against Boston and Houston on back-to-back nights injected life into Orlando’s fading playoff hopes. Better still, the victory over Houston came via a fourth-quarter rally (helped in no small part by Harden’s shooting 1-of-17 from deep). If the Magic are going to salvage this season, they’ll need to tap into that resiliency often. -- Grant Hughes